Keeping the foodservice equipment marketplace up to date with the latest menu and concept trends.



Persian and Turkish Cuisine

As Middle Eastern flavors keep trending, American consumers continue to learn about Persian (Iranian) and Turkish cuisines, which share similarities in ingredients and dish styles.


Persian-Turkish Comparison

 30% of consumers are interested in Persian cuisine

 38% of consumers are interested in Turkish cuisine

Source: Datassential

 On Turkish Menus:

  • Kofta — spiced meatballs using lamb, beef, pork or chicken
  • Baklava — layered puff pastry, honey and nut dessert
  • Börek — savory phyllo dough pastries with feta cheese and herbs
  • Manti — dumplings stuffed with spiced lamb or other meat
  • Pide — cheese-filled pita flatbread baked in clay or wood ovens
  • Dondurma — super thick, Turkish ice cream made by blending together cream, salep, mastic and sugar
  • Dolma — lamb and rice stuffed grape leaves

 On Persian Menus:

  • Zereshk polo — saffron-spiced chicken with barberry rice
  • Faloodeh — a traditional Iranian cold dessert similar to snow cones using rose water
  • Fesenjan — a sweet and sour duck (or chicken) stew made from pomegranate and ground walnuts from the Gilan Province of Iran
  • Kashke Bademjoon — baked eggplant and onions mixed with herbs, mint and kashk, or sun-dried yogurt
  • Tahdig — crusty rice from the bottom of a ceramic pot topped with stew
  • Ghormeh Sabzi — herb stew using fenugreek, parsley, cilantro, leeks or scallions along with dried limes and optional beans and meats
  • Barbari — a thick flatbread topped with sesame and nigella seeds
  • Bastani Sonnati — golden saffron ice cream with pistachios and rose water

Common Persian and Turkish Ingredients

  • Produce: Apricots, plums, pomegranates
  • Proteins: Lamb and chicken stews and kebabs
  • Spices: Sumac, paprika, saffron, cinnamon and turmeric
  • Yogurt and labneh (yogurt cheese)
  • Grains: Rice
  • Nuts: Walnuts and pistachios

The Kebab

Skewered meats and vegetables, typically grilled over a fire, are found in both Turkish and Persian cuisines.

  • 69% of Gen Z report kebabs appeal to them
  • 41% of baby boomers report kebabs appeal to them
  • 59% of consumers are likely to purchase kebabs from either a grocery store or restaurant
  • 7% of menus include kebabs

Source: Datassential

Concept Closeup: The Gundis

The Gundis restaurant in Chicago celebrates Kurdish cuisine and features some common Turkish foods and flavors like yogurt, sumac and saffron. One authentic dish is the Îsot pepper-rubbed salmon and chicken and vegetable sac tawa, a traditional, spicy Kurdish stir-fry cooked with onion, tomatoes and bell peppers, and served with a side of bulgur or rice. For a twist on a traditional Turkish rice pudding, Executive Chef Juan González adds goat milk for extra tang and serves up Kurdish “coffee,” a naturally decaffeinated brew of pistachio tree seeds (terebinth) and milk. The brunch menu showcases fig and walnut-infused pancakes, soujouk (beef sausage) omelets and spreads with fresh feta cheese, cucumbers and fresh cheese rolls with Kurdish sesame butter.

E&S Implications for Turkish and Persian Cuisine:

  • Charcoal- or wood-fired grills for kebabs and other dishes
  • Rotisserie ovens for slow-roasted lamb, chicken and meats
  • Metal and wood skewers for kebabs
  • Dome, clay or wood ovens for baking Turkish pide and pita breads
  • Large pots and Dutch ovens or other clay pots for stews and crispy rice
  • Mortar and pestle for spice grinding
  • Wire sieve and cheesecloth for straining soups, yogurt and teas
  • Wooden dowel or oklava
  • Cezve or another small kettle made of copper or stainless steel for making Turkish coffee; Turkish coffee cups
  • Two-tiered Turkish tea pot, or çaydanlık
  • Tost makinesi, essentially a panini press, for making tost, or grilled kashar cheese sandwiches, typically eaten for breakfast or in-between meals